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Ex-Liverpool star quits job despite winning double in his first ever season as a manager | Football | Sport

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Liverpool cult hero Albert Riera has surprisingly quit as manager of Slovenian outfit NK Olimpija Ljubljana despite winning a league and cup double in his first season. The previous winger’s side won the Prva Liga for the primary time since 2017/18 but that was not enough to persuade their head coach to stay.

Riera’s first press conference was reportedly disrupted by indignant fans protesting against the ownership of the club. Nonetheless, the Spaniard remained in charge and enjoyed great success, clinching the Slovenian top-flight at the top of April.

Olimpia then defeated Maribor to win the Slovenian Cup on May 6, winning a dramatic final against nine men because of a penalty 10 minutes into added time in additional time. But Riera has since decided to quit, posting a farewell message on his Instagram page.

“Thanks @nkolimpija for this chance. I couldn’t ask for more, first 12 months as head coach and [we] win league and cup. Champions of each cups in Slovenia,” Riera said.

“I gave all my knowledge, energy, passion and professionality until the last day. Special because of the players, you might be the principal [characters] of this history. I still remember my first day, first speech, my promise was just one, to enhance all of you and I leave feeling proud. Don’t forget to smile and revel in.

“And to the fans, without you the football has not sensed your support and power. All the time I’d say that my history began here, with the dragons, and any longer you’ve got a fan and supporter for the remaining of our lives.

“Wishing you all the perfect and [a] vibrant future. Now it’s time for me to seek out one other motivation and adventure.”

In a transparent hint that his decision was based on internal politics, Riera told local Slovenian media that he wouldn’t allow anyone to ‘interfere’ along with his coaching. He supposedly told Sport Klub: “I do know what I can control as a coach. These are my players. This worked for me all 12 months. I didn’t allow anyone to interfere in my decisions.

“Anyone who knows me knows that that’s just how I work, I’m the one who makes the choices, nevertheless it looks as if it was my mistake. In Slovenia, winning [trophies] is clearly a nasty thing and also you are not any longer a coach.”

Riera scored five goals in 56 appearances for Liverpool between 2008 and 2010. He also frolicked on loan at Manchester City and, later in his profession, enjoyed a short-lived spell within the Championship with Watford.

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